My first career was in newspaper and magazine journalism, specialising in social justice.
In my spare time I became a relationship counsellor. And when I sat down with my first clients I knew this was what I was meant to do, and went on to become a clinical psychologist.
I trained in London and qualified in 1998. I worked in NHS child and family services before going on to work with adults in the NHS and private practice in London and Hertfordshire.
Social justice and concern for our suffering planet have continued to be central to my life and work.
My experience includes a wide variety of therapies including: grief therapy, depth or Jungian psychology, psycho-dynamic, systemic and narrative therapies, as well as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), in particular compassion-focused therapy and Mindful Self-Compassion.
I am interested in the power of imagination and story, especially myths and traditional tales, and enjoy listening to and reading stories and poetry. I am curious about how our lives are shaped by the narratives that are told about us and we tell about ourselves.
At the heart of my way of working is the lived experience of suffering, of difference and marginalisation, and compassion.
Who are clinical psychologists?
In the UK, clinical psychologists are jointly trained in the NHS and universities.
Our research background helps us to assess, understand and develop knowledge about psychological difficulties, human psychological functioning at its best and ways to alleviate pain and distress.
UK clinical psychologists are trained to work with all ages: psychological aspects of pain and illness; minor, acute and chronic psychological conditions, complex cases and all levels of cognitive functioning, and to work with individuals and groups.
We are taught about normal psychological functioning and problems from a wide perspective.
And we are trained in many different methods, so that when we work with an individual or group we can understand what is happening and provide a response or way of working with what is found or develops that is individually tailored. This is known as assessment and formulation. In this way clinical psychology in its core is an integrative and holistic therapeutic approach.
Clinical psychologists are particularly known currently for their work developing CBT or cognitive behaviour therapy and developments from it such as Mindful Self-Compassion, acceptance and commitment therapy and compassion-focused therapy which are all to varying degrees influenced by Buddhist philosophy and practice on the relief of suffering.